Google Reaches Advertising Agreement with French Press

Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Photo: Crunch. Photo by Dave Getzschman

Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Photo: Crunch. Photo by Dave Getzschman

After two months of tense negotiations, Google has finally reached an agreement with French press that will allow the French press to access Google’s advertising platforms at a reduced cost.

Previously, the French press had been aiming to propose a law that would require search engines to pay royalties every time Google News cited French headlines, as this gave viewers free access to the papers’ articles.

In response, Google threatened to pull its references to French media and its links to French media. Google CEO Eric Schmidt met with French president Francois Hollande on February 1 to finalize the resolution to the conflict. In return for dismissing the proposal, Google will provide a 60 million euro Digital Innovation fund to support the French press with their transfer to the digital age.

This marks a solid agreement for the Internet giant, which has been embroiled in several debates with European media outlets. The Belgian press had also demanded royalties for links to Belgian articles, who argued that “cached” versions of Belgian articles were violating journalists’ rights. The discontent from media outlets has been extensive, as Google earns profits for the many links it posts in its results. The 60 million euro settlement is but petty cash for the company, as it represents only three days’ earnings.

The fact that the French press was willing to accept such a sum is indicative of the struggling state of media – not just French media, but media worldwide. As newspapers lose more and more of their audience to their online counterparts, the press must find more ways to generate much-needed funds.

This settlement, however, will help the French press generate online revenue and traffic with Google’s platforms. Hollande has since affirmed his optimism in the deal. He has also praised Google’s commitment to increase investment in France.

“The fund will help our press adapt to the digital age. It will also help investment and innovation, which is good for the French press, for content and also for Google,” Hollande said.

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